Post by sillylibrarian on Feb 4, 2017 13:31:25 GMT -5
Okay, I might sound like a total dummy, but what is the difference between a CP and a Beta Reader exactly? Googling "beta reader" gives me so many differing answers. I'm part of critique groups and consider myself a CP for others... do I also "need" "beta readers"? What would they do? Are they just for novelists?
Post by midenianscholar on Feb 4, 2017 13:49:09 GMT -5
It might be a blurry line, but here's how I think of it: CPs are people who look at excerpts or chapter-by-chapter stuff in-depth (often while you're drafting). Beta readers are readers who read the whole thing in one swoop and give larger feedback, or feedback with the whole picture in mind.
I think it's valuable to have both because CPs can be really nitty-gritty while beta readers can take a broader look at overall concerns/strengths.
Personally for me, the line between CP & beta is the level of feedback... but also just semantics/background. Beta is a popular term from fandom and fanfic circles, and in that world, betas act just like critique partners, just under a different name. There are various types of beta readers--I used to work with Britpickers, grammar specialists, people who were particularly great with specific characters... and I suppose those that specialized in only reading for one type of thing were not exactly critique partners (and it wasn't always mutual). Sometimes a beta reader simply was a friend who read and gave you the thumbs up, re: "this is ready to post."
IMO, a CP can offer all sorts of reads/levels of help, including big picture feedback... that is my specialty (I'm not good at line edits b/c I get antsy w/ long and detail-oriented edits on a screen), but I don't consider myself a beta. I am a CP: I offer support, feedback, ideas, scene specific line edits as needed. It is a package deal and a whole and reciprocal relationship, for me. But, that said, it's not always reciprocal! I CP for people when I don't have a manuscript for them to read, and vice versa, though the hope is always that eventually the relationship will go both ways.
But for me, in the world of novels, I do think there is a place for a beta read, and I don't consider it the same as a CP. For me, a beta is someone who reads a book and gives a general impression--cheerleader readers, usually. Like "This worked for me and XYZ was my fave character" rather than "You have a strong concept, but here is where I saw pacing issues." But they don't give deep or substantive feedback like a CP would. That's my line. (but my views are 100% formed by my fandom experiences, FWIW)